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Friday, 29 June 2007

Raspberry Truffles

Raspberry truffles 1

With the overload of raspberries from our garden, I was thinking of new ways to use them while fresh, and came across a recipe from the Epicurious website for Chocolate-Covered Raspberry Truffles. My heart almost stopped at the thought of chocolate and fresh raspberries together in a truffle, I was really going to look forward to this!

I have to say that I was a bit disappointed. While the finished truffles do look mouthwatering, I don't think they are going to go to the top of my favourites list. On reflection, I think I prefer to bite into solid chocolate, I'm not so keen on the squishy centre of the raspberry - they might have been more to my liking if I had coated them again. Having said that, my husband liked them and most of them went happily to work with him in his lunchbox!

Raspberry truffles3

I made about half of this recipe and got about 35 truffles.

Chocolate Covered Raspberry Truffles
Adapted from Epicurious

7 oz good quality plain chocolate, broken into squares
¼ cup double (heavy) cream
1 ½ tablespoons Framboise (raspberry) liqueur
6 oz fresh raspberries (1 cup)
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, you may need less

Put the chocolate and cream into a glass bowl and heat very gently in the microwave for 1 minute - stirring every 20 seconds until chocolate is melted and mixed with the cream - it may take a couple of minutes depending on your microwave, or melt in a double boiler over simmering water.
Stir in Framboise.
Put raspberries, a few at a time, into chocolate mixture and gently turn to coat using a fork or a teaspoon, then scoop them out, one at a time and put them onto a tray lined with baking parchment paper.
Chill for at least an hour.
Put the cocoa powder into a plastic bag and add the truffles, shaking gently in the bag to coat them. Transfer onto a plate and keep chilled until ready to serve.
These can be kept for up to 2 days in the fridge.

(Printable Recipe)

Raspberry truffles 2

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Picking Raspberries


When we moved into our house we acquired, amongst other garden delights, a large sprawling raspberry patch. The canes are rather unruly at the moment and seem to multiply each year, the amount of berries is usually good to overwhelming and this year is no exception. I have been picking about 2lbs of berries every couple of days and my freezer is groaning at the thought of more to come.

Apart from the usual raspberry fare, I have been experimenting with raspberry truffles and have some raspberry vinegar on the go, which I'll be able to try in a few weeks when it's ready!


Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Caramel Pick-Me-Up - SHF #32

Caramel Tiramisu

You can probably tell by now that I do love sweet things! Anything with chocolate is sure to get my vote, but there is one dessert that I cannot get enough of, and that is tiramisu - I love it!

This dreamy, creamy dessert has only come into my life in the last few years - the nearest thing I had to it when I was growing up was the sherry trifle that my Mum made!

There are many variations of a tiramisu, the one I created recently had a mixture of rich mascarpone caramel cream and crunchy butterscotch chocolate, sandwiched between layers of light sponge soaked in coffee and Tia Maria, topped off with a good dusting of cocoa powder. And then, just because I could, I dribbled more caramel down the sides.

This particular tiramisu had two purposes, the first one being my
wedding anniversary, and the second one was for my very first entry into this months Sugar High Friday #32, which is being hosted by the Domestic Goddess.

So I want to say a big thank you to my darling husband, because he's not that fond of my favourite dessert and to Jennifer for giving me another reason to make this gorgeous concoction, most of which was lovingly eaten by me.

Caramel Tiramisu

Not really a recipe as such, and I do know it's not very authentic
but this is what I did:
Make a sponge cake and spit in half horizontally.
Whip up 284ml carton of double cream and lightly fold into 250g mascarpone cheese, along with some caramel.
Place one half of the sponge into a spring form cake tin and dribble with a mixture of strong coffee and
Tia Maria (taste to your liking).
Sprinkle over half a bar of chopped Green & Blacks butterscotch chocolate.
Spread mascarpone mixture on top and sprinkle with the rest of the chopped chocolate.
Put the other half of sponge on top and dribble liberally with coffee/Tia Maria.
Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours and when ready to serve, dust the top with cocoa powder and pour over some extra caramel.

And if you don't have a husband like mine - you will probably have to hide it at the back of the fridge.

(Printable Recipe)

butterscotch choc bar caramel1

Monday, 18 June 2007

Summer Salmon

Salmon & Pineapple Salsa1

This weekend we had salmon with a delightful pineapple salsa. I came across this recipe when I was looking for something else and I'm really glad I did. It's the perfect thing to serve outdoors, and the red chilli in the salsa gives it a little kick. I used salmon that had been smoked and instead of grilling, I baked it in the oven with some of the glaze to keep it from drying out.
You'll find the recipe on the BBC Food pages, Grilled salmon with red onion, coriander, pineapple and chilli salsa.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Tiny Bite

Remember my wild strawberries?

wild strawberry tart1

There were enough for just a couple of these little tartlets.
My previous post didn't show how tiny the wild strawberries were, so I put a medium sized English one in the photos to reflect this.

wild strawberries3 wild strawberry tart2

I could have eaten mine in one bite, but to make it last a little longer I took two!

Friday, 8 June 2007

In search of the perfect....

cake sponge1

....fat free sponge.

We all have what we think is the perfect recipe for the best cake, sauce etc., and I know I have a few recipes for what is 'my best'. And it's great when I go to someone else's house and taste 'their best' - especially if it's better than mine!

I don't know if this is the best or most perfect fat free sponge, but it is easy, light and versatile. I make this one for a variety of recipes that call for sponge cake - and it makes me feel a little better if it's going into a trifle with lashings of cream as there is no butter in the cake!

A true sponge contains no fat - the eggs and sugar are whisked together until thick and creamy, leaving a trail when the whisk is removed. For a really light sponge use caster sugar (extra fine sugar) instead of granulated sugar. I use a hand held electric mixer and gently fold in the flour with a metal spoon or spatula.

The grandmother of one of my friends once told me that if you weighed the cracked eggs, that would give you the exact weight of the sugar and it would be the same weight for the flour, resulting in a light 'spongy' sponge.

So, I weighed 3 eggs (198g/7oz) into a bowl and whisked lightly.
Then added the same weight in sugar (198g/7oz) and whisked until thick, creamy and almost white in colour.
Then I added the same amount of self-raising flour (198g/7oz), which I folded in with a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
This was baked in a round 9" pan, lined with baking parchment at 350ºF for about 25 minutes.
Then cooled on a wire rack.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Herbs in the Kitchen

pot coriander

We grow plenty of herbs in the garden but there are couple that thrive in my kitchen. Fresh coriander is one of those herbs that you either love or hate - I use it mainly in curries and Mexican cuisine. As well as a pot of the fresh stuff, I have a frozen supply in the freezer.

Basil is in the other pot and the smell wafting up from it is divine.

pot basil1

One of my favourite dishes is Roasted Tomatoes with Basil, perfect with bread to mop up the juices.

Roasted Tomatoes with Basil
& Balsamic Vinegar

Just take large plum tomatoes and slice in half - you can skin them first it you want.
Place in an oven proof dish, cut-side up and spread a little chopped garlic on each cut side.
Tear up a handful of basil leaves and lay on top of tomatoes. Dribble a tiny amount of olive oil on each one and roast for a couple of hours in a low oven.
To serve, whisk a tablespoon of olive oil with a tablespoon of good balsamic vinegar and drizzle over the tomatoes.

(Printable Recipe)

Roasted tomatoes with basil

Friday, 1 June 2007

Summer's Coming.....

And I can't wait!
I saw the cherry stall by the side of the road today as I made the drive through the countryside to the nearest town- a sure sign that summer is on it's way.
There is also a stall in the front garden of one of the houses in our village. The owners have a fruit farm and cherries are the first fruit they sell - 2 kinds of delicious sweet, succulent cherries. I am waiting patiently for that stall to open and when it does, I shall be first in line.
In the meantime, it's French cherries from the roadside, just a few to tease those taste buds!

Cream Meringue

Ever wondered what to do with those egg whites? No, not another Angel Cake but crisp, melt in the mouth meringues. These are also great for any recipe requiring crushed meringues.
The secret is to let them ‘dry out’ rather than bake, in a very slow oven, then sandwich with whipped cream.

Cream Meringues

3 egg whites
150 g caster sugar
150 ml double cream

Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment or non-stick baking paper.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff, add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking well for about 1 minute after each addition.
Pipe or spoon 10-12 rounds or oblongs of the meringue on to the non-stick paper.
Bake in the oven at 110ºC (225º F) for about 2-3 hours, changing the position of the trays half way through the cooking - don’t let them become very brown.
Cool on a wire rack.
Whip the fresh cream until stiff and use to sandwich the meringue shells together.

(Printable Recipe)